RUSSELLVILLE – The Bryant Lady Hornets went 2-4 in the Cyclone Invitational in Russellville on Saturday. Starting out with a familiar 7A/6A South conference foe J.A. Fair, Bryant swept them 25-8 and 25-5 before running into fellow 7A school Mount Saint Mary in the next match, falling to the Belles 18-25 and 13-25.
“We beat J.A. Fair in our first game of the day,” Bryant Coach Beth Solomon said. “We knew what to expect coming straight from playing them Thursday night. It was a good warm up game for the girls to start the day. We went straight into our next pool play game with Mount Saint Mary. The girls fought hard but we couldn’t pull of a victory with them. We did play fairly consistently and hard against them.”
The Lady Hornets would fall to 7A opponent Springdale Har Ber, but it prepared Bryant with 7A play, as the Lady Hornets are the only 7A team in the South. They lost to Har Ber 15-25 and 19-25.
“We picked up an extra match with Springdale Har Ber as well,”Solomon said. “This didn’t count for or against us in pool play and getting seeded into the bracket, but it did count for Har Ber. Our girls played “OK” the first game and the score reflected that. For the second game, we came out on fire and really stepped it up. I volunteered for us to take on this extra game so that we could play some more 7A volleyball. It’s hard to go into state tournament after having no 7A schools in your conference.”
Bryant split with Morrilton, winning 25-21 and losing 17-25, before opening up tournament play with Alma. After winning the first set 25-20, the Lady Airedales edged the Lady Hornets 25-23 and forced a third game, which Bryant took 15-12. For their victory, the Lady Hornets went up against 6A State Champ and host Russellville. Bryant played hard in a 25-20 loss the first set before being overpowered in the last set 13-25.
“The girls played hard against Russellville,” Solomon said. “Russellville was the 6A State Champion last year and lost few players. Our girls put up a great fight and finished the day playing well. Overall, we did what we needed to do Saturday. We got better. That’s what our goal was. Saturday also helped us get ready for this week. We have two conference games this week in Sheridan and Texarkana.”
Sophomore Allie Anderson led the team in kills for the tournament, finishing with 21 and adding eight aces, junior Nikki Clay had 19 kills and 11 digs, sophomore Sierra Jones had 16 kills, and sophomore setter Britney Sahlmann had 71 assists, 13 aces and eight digs. Sophomores Shayla McKissock and Whitney Brown each had 12 digs.